Are you a woman who leads? Maybe you don’t see yourself as a leader, but God has you leading someone right where you are. Maybe it’s your kids, your friends, or the teenager next door. Maybe it’s a Women’s Ministry, a team at work, or a small group. This series—led by our women’s ministry specialist Kelly King—will help you no matter where you lead, and whether you’re leading one or one thousand.
The Book of Acts doesn’t seem like a book about leaders who set up boundaries. I mean, Jesus told His disciples to take the gospel to the ends of the earth in Acts 1:8. He gave Peter permission to eat unclean animals. He offered salvation to everyone—both Jews and Greeks. The book is filled with admonition that boundaries seem limitless, yet good leaders do have boundaries in order to maximize their effectiveness. As Dr. Henry Cloud, author of several books on boundaries says, “Leaders get what they create and what they allow.” In other words, leaders create boundaries for those who follow by giving them expectations and creating a culture where people are inspired and empowered to do their best.
First, as leaders we must recognize God uses ordinary people to accomplish His purposes. People are limited, but God’s character is limitless. Believers are forgiven in Christ, yet continue to sin. As creatures with physical limits, leaders must remember people are the means to accomplish great things for the Kingdom, but only in the power of the Holy Spirit. We must encourage followers to walk in the Spirit and to live out their calling in their unique giftedness. We must help believers create boundaries with self-awareness and not self-preservation. Leaders create teams where collectively more is accomplished than can be done alone.
Consider the early church and the spread of the gospel. God used the disciples (including a few women) to pray together and spread the news of the resurrection. While we often see Peter and Paul as key players of the early church, we can’t forget how God used ordinary, uneducated people who were empowered by the Holy Spirit to plant new churches and lead others to Christ.
Second, leaders set boundaries that define and create the identity of a team and the culture in which they perform. Peter and Paul created a courageous culture in the face of persecution. They pushed the boundaries on inclusiveness by including Greeks and challenging traditions that had legalistic boundaries. They promoted freedom in Christ, yet they did not compromise the call for holiness. Paul did not waiver in his boundary of Christ and Christ only when he stood in the middle of the Areopagus in Acts 17, challenging those who had limitless gods and even an unknown god. His boundary was Christ alone and the power of His resurrection.
Third, leaders set boundaries based on the premise of ownership. Leaders define the boundaries that drive behavior. When you lead others, whether it is in a ministry or work setting, you want those you lead to capture your vision and live it out in the way they act. Leaders in the early church were willing to suffer and die because they not only believed in the risen Christ, but had courage to give others vision to see God’s activity in their lives and provide clarity in their calling. Time after time, Paul shared his personal experience of meeting Christ on the road to Damascus. He wanted those who heard to know he had encountered the risen Christ and his calling was to be a witness to everyone he encountered. In Acts 22:14, Paul says, “The God of our ancestors has appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One, and to hear the words from his mouth, since you will be a witness for him to all people of what you have seen and heard.” There was no denying Paul’s laser focus and vision as a leader that set his boundary with a powerful story.
As a leader and a Christ follower, how are you articulating your vision and sharing your story?
Are you a leader with boundaries that provide freedom and unlimited opportunities or do you see boundaries as restrictions that keep you from moving forward?
Let’s commit to be leaders who create healthy boundaries for limitless gospel impact.
Are you ready to lead well? Sign up for the ministry to women newsletter to get monthly content specifically for leaders here. Get training at events like YOU Lead around the country and Women’s Leadership Forum this November in Nashville, TN.
Kelly King is the Women’s Ministry Specialist for Lifeway Women. She and her husband, Vic, have been married for more than 28 years and have enjoyed serving together in ministry both teaching in student ministry for 25 years and teaching young married adults. They have two young adult children, Conner and Courtney, and a son-in-law, Gaige. They enjoy kayaking, having people in their home, and cheering for the Oklahoma City Thunder. A good day includes mocha lattes, Mexican food, and shopping for bargains.